Key Juvenile Justice Legislation for California

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Brian Goldstein: Public safety issues are especially challenging given the state’s ongoing prison overcrowding crisis and the ever-evolving juvenile justice system. The state passed a number of successful reforms in 2013. Yet, 2014 already brings some exceptional juvenile justice legislation that is worthy of recognition and support.

10x More Mentally Ill Americans in Prison Than In State Hospitals

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Tara Culp-Ressler: 44 states and the District of Columbia have at least one jail that houses more people with mental illnesses than the largest state psychiatric hospital does.

Terminal Illness in Prison

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Bruce Reilly: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 2001 and 2011, cancer and heart disease were the leading causes of over 3000 annual deaths in state prisons.

Cage Complex: Why Is America’s Prison Population Soaring?

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Wendy McElroy: The “private prison complex” is a creation of crony capitalism through which privileged corporations are paid well for the “care” of inmates and for leasing out prison labor to other businesses.

Dying Inside: Lifers, the Dying and California’s Correctional Paradigm

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Jonathan Simon: Prison sentences must have limits to be rational and just and almost everyone agrees that California’s years of penal populism led legislators and prosecutors to produce sentences that having little relationship to either moral desert or risk.

In Black and White: African-Americans in the Criminal Justice System

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Justice is supposed to be color blind, especially in America. But is this really true? Blacks in the U.S. face overwhelming prejudice within the criminal justice system.

Movement Building and Challenging Mass Incarceration

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Raj Jayadev: Is it time for community members to work with an often overwhelmed public defender system to keep people out of prison in the U.S.? One organizer in California says, “Yes.”

California’s Radical De-Incarceration Experiment

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De-Incarceration: By managing offenders at the local level, California’s counties can develop solutions rooted in best practices.

Gavin Newsom for Criminal Justice Reform

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Lt Gov Gavin Newsom boldly offered a blistering critique of the criminal justice system and the willingness of too many in California to simply abide by the status quo

How Solitary Confinement Hurts Youth

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Kate McCracken: We cannot just lock these youth up and throw away the key. Correctional facilities, deemed the “parent” of these youth, must provide a safe environment for youth to be successful.

Homeless Woman Arrested 87 Times for Resting on Sidewalk

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Homeless Woman Arrested: Between the LAPD and city attorney’s office, hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money has been spent.

Mass Incarceration, Mass Deportation

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Governing Through Crime — We must demand a full dismantling of both these legacies of the era of governing through crime.

How False Confessions and Wrongful Convictions Are Betraying U.S. Justice System

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It does not advance justice or public safety for an innocent person to go to prison and a guilty party to go free. Interrogations must be recorded from beginning to end to prevent false confessions and end this tragic flaw in our criminal justice system.

The New Jim Crow: California Prison Style

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Rosemary Jenkins: Over the last 30 years, our country has become number one in the world at having more people incarcerated at any one time (second only to what transpired during the reign of terror during Stalin’s regime).

LA County Board of Supervisors Mismanaging Realignment

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For mismanaging realignment in LA County, we are putting you “on probation.” We list for you the following five rehabilitation benchmarks that we expect you to meet over the next year.

Michelle Alexander: A Moral Revolution

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Michelle Alexander: I have not been speaking publicly about the relationship between drones abroad and the War on Drugs at home.

Four Ways to Better Manage Jail Bed Space

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Kate McCraken: Counties that continue to rely on prisons and jails to contain their criminal element put unnecessary strain on their sheriffs. Criminal justice partners need to embrace county-specific interventions and apply community resources to reduce the use of incarceration and increase public safety.

My Friend Todd Ashker: History of a One-Sided Dialogue

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Denis O’Hearn: Todd Ashker is a major mover in the movement for peaceful change in California’s prisons and on its streets.

My Friend Todd Ashker

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Denis O’Hearn: I know him as a thoughtful human being who has dedicated his life to peaceful change, to helping his fellow prisoners by learning the law and sharing his knowledge.

Scalia’s Gift to Jerry Brown

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Joe Mathews: If Brown is criticized over the prisons and the possible human consequences of releases, all he’ll have to do is quote Scalia.

Why Do Unsentenced Defendants Overflow California Jails?

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Kate McCracken: In an era of Realignment where we continue to confine individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety solely based on their financial ability to post bail, we need to urge local practitioners to seek out these available resources.

From State Prison to LA County: Ready or Not

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Diane Lefer: There are angels among us. They understand that men and women who’ve been granted a second chance need something more: They need to be welcomed home.

Solitary Confinement and American Acceptionalism

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Tina Dupuy: If the Constitution is good enough justification to protect nutty Uncle Ernie’s arsenal and Glenn Beck subscription, then it should suffice for halting long-term solitary confinement of both enemy combatants and U.S. citizens.

Hunger Strikes, Force Feeds, and Solitary Dreams

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Bruce Reilly: While the California prisoners enter their fourth day of hunger strikes, the people of Guantanamo enter their 40th. Meanwhile, Herman Wallace has spent over forty years in solitary confinement in Louisiana.

Hunger Strike

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Jonathan Simon: In California’s SHU, scores of prisoners have served more than twenty years of such conditions, and hundreds for more than ten.

Third California Prison Strike Looms

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Dan Bluemel: In 2011, inmates held in long-term solitary confinement in California prisons held two hunger strikes to protest their treatment. Because prison officials have not met the inmates’ demands, another hunger strike is planned for July 8.

Will President Obama Pardon the Longest Held Independentista?

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Hans Bennett: Since all of Oscar López Rivera’s original co-defendants have since won their release, he is famous in Puerto Rico as the longest held Independentista political prisoner.

Undoing Racist Crack Cocaine Sentencing

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Bruce Reilly: Our criminal justice policy in America, particularly the drug prohibition, is akin to our slavery policy of 1859. Most people realize it is anywhere from problematic to catastrophic.

Brown’s Revised Budget Discriminates Against Mentally Ill

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Lizzie Buchen: The bill stigmatizes people who have suffered from mental illness by shackling them with harsher supervision, and unreasonably assumes they will receive better supervision and treatment from the state than from the community.

How Abusing Prisoners Jeopardizes Public Safety

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Angola 3 News: Hidden behind the walls, huge numbers of human beings have their spirits broken daily. Secretly, many suffer false disciplinary reports, illegitimate confiscation or destruction of personal property, physical beatings, rape, and sometimes fraudulent criminal penalties.

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